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SmugSnugInARug

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About SmugSnugInARug

  • Rank
    Decaf

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Nonbinary
  • Pronouns
    They/Them
  • Location
    Chicago, IL
  • Interests
    Ancient Philosophy, Continental Philosophy, Aesthetics, Sound Studies, Sound Art.
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    Philosophy PhD

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  1. SmugSnugInARug

    Statement of Purpose Question

    Sure. By sense of cohesion, I mean something like this: Does your AOI relate to courses you took in undergrad or an MA program? Can you give examples of this area consistently across two programs, or even from several years within undergrad? @Glasperlenspieler definitely put it in the right tone: show that your interests are stable, but without being too hyper-specific. (A balance you won’t strike on your first draft, it requires getting someone else to review your draft to tell you where you are in that balance.) You are not building a grand narrative that connects everything together, just a sense of definition or cohesion. Thing of it more like smoothing our rough edges than giving fine details. For example, if you have an MA is psychology, but are now trying to do a PhD in philosophy, you need to be able to explain why this MA would be an asset and you understand how they relate, and not that you are just jumping from one field to another. An area of interest at the intersection of the two fields would help immensely in a case like that. Mentioning specific courses you took that give a sense that you are prepared for your areas of interest is a great tactic. If you wrote papers on that topic specifically, great, mention it once or twice. Interested in Nietzsche and Kierkegaard? It would be good for them to know: you took a course on Nietzsche, and a course on German Idealism, you wrote a phil. of religion paper on Kierkegaard, and that you’ve taken German for two years (or whatever! Fill in your background). Don’t tell them that you started reading Nietzsche when you were 16. Don’t give reasons why one class led you to the next, the listing of them will suffice. This isn’t about how you ‘think deep’ or some story about how nietzsche moved you, its about making clear that you have real, material proof that you have done work that would prepare you for the next degree.
  2. SmugSnugInARug

    Statement of Purpose Question

    I found that the more important thing is a coherent narrative about yourself, to emphasize @maxhgns its not the number but rather that you convey a sense of cohesion between the AOI you mention and your personal background. They aren’t looking for sincerity or authenticity, but rather more that you have a sense of what you are interested in, and that the level of focus you have is appropriate to where you are in the process (if you have a BA going for an MA it should be more open, going for a PhD should be more refined, and with an MA into PhD it should show even more specificity and a clear narrative connecting your BA and MA experience into those exact AOI).
  3. SmugSnugInARug

    Can I get a second MA in philosophy?

    So, one of the big issues with the GRE is that the analytic writing section is notoriously unreliable. This may (or may not) be true, but that is a commonly held perception. At best, higher writing scores usually correlate to higher verbal scores. As a result, the actual treatment of the AW is sidelined in favor of the more 'reliable' (at least apparently) verbal score. On average, graduate applicants to any program try to score a 4 or higher on the AW. A high verbal plus a 3 wouldn't necessarily hurt you, except in the more competitive programs. With respect to the verbal score, I will repeat advice I gave elsewhere in the forum: I have been explicitly told by members of committees that verbal scores are used in the sorting process and prospective students with particularly high scores have an advantage. Often applicants in the 98th percentile (varies by year, usually 167+) and above are given preferential treatment in the process (this varies from department to department, but is far more prevalent than reading this forum might suggest). This doesn't guarantee acceptance, but is quite helpful. While the writing sample is the most important, if you can afford it, a higher GRE score is a good thing and really does help. And, fortunately, repeated attempts at the GRE do usually lead to better results (fewer careless errors, a better understanding of the pacing of the test, etc.)
  4. SmugSnugInARug

    2 Questions concerning the GRE

    I’m gonna just try to run a bit against the grain, if only because you mentioned BC and Continental programs. The short version is this: I know for a fact that some members of continental program acceptance committees DO use the verbal GRE score in deciding whether your application goes to a single professor to read, or to every professor. A high score doesn’t guarantee entry, but it can drastically increase your chances when you are being reviewed by several professors rather than one. I have been specifically told by faculty who work in these committees that top verbal scores are absolutely important. Regardless of how indicative they actually are. The recommendation I received was to try to get a 167 or higher (depending on the year).
  5. SmugSnugInARug

    Help Choosing a School

    As in ‘Seale intended to be a sexual predator’.
  6. SmugSnugInARug

    UChicago MPPSS or MAPH?

    That’s incorrect. First off, the ‘cash cow’ bit is only mildly true, but not any more than any other unfunded MA programs. Which, granted, should all be free, but to lay that at the feet of U. Chicago is to blame an instance for a trend. Additionally, as someone who DID pay (and still is paying) for MAPH, its worth it. Seriously. Secondly, the resources provided to U. Chi MA students are incredible, I still get weekly emails of potential jobs. Not only do you get the full support of the MAPH/MAPSS faculty, but you also get the immense resources of U. Chicago itself, which is a massive global network. As for direct attention for MA students: it varies mostly by professor, but the vast majority of them are extremely helpful and do actually have time for MA students. I met with most of my professors regularly, including people like Marion and Pippin. And, if that attention isn’t enough, you have 1. A post-doc, in your general area, who has been hired literally to help your small group (6-10) succeed. Plus, and I cannot stress this enough, the community formed by each cohort is incredible. I’m still incredibly close with many of the people from my year, and at my current job, 6 of the 18 people who work in my department are MAPH alums. Placement rate into PhDs in Philosophy is also NOT poor. Of the 11 philosophy students in my year, 7 decided to apply in the year following the MA program. One is at Riverside, one is at U. Chi (in Social Thought), one is somewhere in Tennessee, one is at Western Ontario, and three of us didn‘t get it (But I have gotten in since to Duquesne). 4 out of 7 is not a bad placement rate. The issue is, in part, that the numbers get skewed because of the varying sizes of philosophy students in each class. Now, I will admit, there is some tension between MAPH and the philosophy department, but this is mostly for two reasons: 1) MAPH students are often much more interested in continental philosophy and the history of philosophy than analytic. (I think my year was 7/4 Continental/Analytic.) Obviously this causes some tensions between the two departments, as some of the Phil. faculty are less than helpful as a result. However, the Divinity School just does Continental stuff, so for those students who wish to pursue that, there isn’t actually any issues on the ground. 2) Some of the older Philosophy faculty look down on students getting MAs, basically assuming that if you didn’t get in to the PhD you are an idiot and will never get in anywhere. There’s not a whole lot you can do about this other than to just ignore those professors, which is super easy. On a day to day level, those problems really don’t exist though. The vast majority of the faculty are not like this though.
  7. SmugSnugInARug

    UChicago MPPSS or MAPH?

    Yes, that reputation as a cash cow is certainly true, but that’s also a reputation that most largely unfunded MAs have. However, I was largely speaking about the reputation of those programs re: quality of education, value of degree compared to other institutions (both for getting hired and for acceptance into other degree granting programs). Because the reality is when you walk away from a program, other people don’t see your financial situation, they see your degree. And the op was asking about the reputation of the institution, not about evaluating the financial elements of it.
  8. SmugSnugInARug

    UChicago MPPSS or MAPH?

    So, MAPH and MAPSS are quite different. MAPH is primarily filled with students in the following fields: art history, philosophy, English literature, linguistics, political science (theory), classics, music, cinema studies. MAPSS is much more social science oriented: anthropology, sociology, history, political science, communications, etc. If you are more focused on the social science part of things, MAPSS seems far more to fit your stated interests. Both programs are well respected by academia, largely because of U. Chicago’s reputation. Just be honest with MAPSS, you have a background in pol. sci, but want to transition to history. Your background sounds just like why interdisciplinary MAs exist.
  9. SmugSnugInARug

    Final Outcomes

    Thank you! Yeah, they have been incredibly responsive and the people seem just really respectful of the difficulties that applicants are going through in the process. I’m really glad you’ve been successful this cycle, its heartwarming to see people in this forum do well.
  10. SmugSnugInARug

    Final Outcomes

    I have accepted my offer at Duquesne University, with a final score 2a/1w/4r. AOI - Phil. Music, Plato, Deleuze, Aesthetics. Extremely excited to work at a program with like 4 scholars who all work on large portions of my interests. Basically been my top choice since I started applying.
  11. SmugSnugInARug

    Declining Offers/Withdrawing Applications Thread

    Just declined Western Ontario's Theory and Criticism PhD. (I know its not strictly philosophy, but its where a lot of people do Continental work, so just posting it here.)
  12. SmugSnugInARug

    Acceptances

    Also accepted to the Western Ontario Theory & Criticism PhD. I will be declining the offer.
  13. SmugSnugInARug

    Typical Week of Philosophy

    I think its worth putting out a word of warning about this kind of conversation regarding the question of mental health. Graduate programs are extremely stressful environments and philosophy is no exception. Unfortunately, the mental health of graduate students faces a few serious challenges: 1. First there is a the problem of over-identification with one's discipline. As the work/leisure distinction has collapsed over the past few decades (see, for example, the Google model & playbor), it can be hard to separate one's personal work from free time. Strangely enough, philosophy was a discipline that precisely began in leisure time, and yet with the professionalization of philosophy (and the subsequent corporatization of the academy), philosopher students are often trapped in the bind of over-identifying too much with their profession and as a result it makes it extremely difficult to maintain the work/leisure division that is necessary for mental health. 2. One of the byproducts of this is that many philosophy students derive their 'self-worth' from their perceived academic standing in their peer groups. As the divide between work/leisure collapses philosophy students consistently treat their social time with other students as in this nebulous space, often feeling a need to overstate how much work they are actually doing or accomplishing. This is particularly common when students inevitably compare themselves to others in the field/profession and as a mode of compensation they often self-describe in ideal terms (which are usually unsustainable amounts of work). [Here contemporary articles that draw on Lacan's Mirror Stage and Imago re: instagram/social media would be helpful.] Of course, because this is intellectual labor, down time is extremely necessary. As the environment spirals into students comparing themselves with others purported clams about the amount of work they accomplish, it benefits absolutely no-one. 3. As a result of this kind of setting, answering the question about how much effort and time people spend on their work each week becomes a question loaded with psychological stakes that I'm sure the author of this question didn't intent to invoke. It is not a neutral question and the answers we give to it are not neutral. They are directly related to the mental health of our fellow cohorts, our fellow students, and even our potential fellow co-workers or interlocutors. In a certain way my answer to the original question is something like this: With respect to time management, I would echo @hector549, make sure you are not treating work as the sole criterion for how to organize your time. Make sure you organize your life, with clear distinctions between leisure and labor. I work full-time as an adjunct professor, but I still manage to take my dog to the park every day for an hour or so. And if you want to read three other books that have nothing to do with classes you are taking, or prepare ahead of time for something, go ahead and do that, but recognize that you are doing so on your own leisure time. Not on your work time. And you need to be very careful to separate the two.
  14. SmugSnugInARug

    Declining Offers/Withdrawing Applications Thread

    Removed myself from the waitlist at Villanova. Hope it helps someone! (AOI: aesthetics, contemporary continental, Plato)
  15. SmugSnugInARug

    Acceptances

    Accepted to Duquesne off the waitlist! So excited! Going to accept.
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